The deep southern state of Kerala stretches along the tropical Malabar Coast with almost 600km of Arabian Sea coastline. It is famed for palm-fringed golden sand beaches, the cool and languid network of backwaters and the spice, tea and coffee plantations of the Western Ghats. Kerala is also home to ayurvedic treatments, tantalising cuisine and abundant native wildlife and birdlife.
The backwaters draw travellers in precisely because there is so little to do; after the rigours of Indian travel, this is a moment to lie back, sip a drink, read a book, watch the birds or simply doze as the lush, sleepy jungle slips by. The labyrinth of canals and lakes stretch for 75 kilometres between Cochin and Quilon along the coast. In the smaller canals, fishermen stand up to their necks in water, digging for fish with their toes, women thump clothes clean by the water's edge and traditional barges pass, heavily laden with coconuts and rice. Some of the waterways are tiny, barely wide enough for a canoe, whilst others are major trading and transport routes.
Kerala is a world away from the frenzy of the rest of India and is altogether a more liberal and laid-back place.
Features in the following itineraries
The first condition of understanding a foreign country is to smell it.
- Mr David Wallace, North India
- Leslie Siben, India
- Jaime Benitez, South India
- Anonymous, India
- Matthew Nicklin, North India
- Mr & Mrs Manson, North India
- Mr Richard Stoughton, Sri Lanka
- Matthew Annable, Rajasthan, India
- Mr Geoffrey Johnson, India
- Krista Weir, Sri Lanka